- Greenbushes Lithium Operation delivering record production and creating local jobs
- Highest grade and one of the world's largest hard rock deposits of lithium spodumene
- WA producing lithium hydroxide and is expected to start exporting it later in 2022
- Construction underway with further plans in place to expand existing mine together with ongoing exploration to create hundreds of jobs
The McGowan Government has welcomed the increased demand for Western Australia's spodumene concentrate, which is a significant job-creating industry helping to maintain and grow local job opportunities.
The Greenbushes deposit is recognised as containing the highest grade, is one of the largest hard rock deposits of spodumene in the world and output accounts for approximately 22 per cent of the global lithium market.
Greenbushes Lithium Operation has experienced an increase in global demand, driving record production - resulting in an uplift of 190 new jobs in the past year - and bringing the local operations workforce to over 900.
In the September 2022 quarter, Greenbushes achieved record production of 361,227 tonnes of spodumene concentrate - an increase of seven per cent from the June 2022 quarter.
Spodumene concentrate - from which lithium is derived - is used globally to manufacture various products, including lithium-ion batteries used to power green energy technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs).
The Greenbushes Lithium Operation is a significant local employer recruiting people who predominantly live in and around the local communities of: Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Donnybrook, Nannup, Boyup Brook, Manjimup, Balingup, Mullalyup, and Kirup, which helps support regional towns in the Warren-Blackwood region, and continues to employ in line with its growing production demands.
WA is the largest lithium supplier in the world, accounting for 52 per cent of global supply in 2021, and accounted for 100 per cent of Australia's lithium production in 2021.
Greenbushes alone contributed 50 per cent of the 267,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalents mined in Australia in 2021.
The McGowan Government aims to grow WA's future battery industry, and transform it into a significant source of economic development, diversification, jobs, and skills, and is committed to growing WA into a leading exporter of future battery minerals, materials, technologies, and expertise.
Construction is underway, and further plans are in place - which are subject to State approvals - to expand the existing mine, increasing its production capacity by approximately a further 50 per cent, and maintain a production life of more than 20 years, and is estimated to support an additional 680 permanent jobs over the next five years - in addition to the 450-550 construction jobs which will be created.
Expanding the Greenbushes mine will help increase the State's participation in global battery and critical mineral supply chains, and job-creating manufacturing opportunities.
WA has begun producing lithium hydroxide and is expected to start exporting it later in 2022, with the newly built Kwinana and Kemerton processing plants each having capacity to produce around 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes respectively of lithium hydroxide a year, supplied by lithium concentrate from the Greenbushes mine.
Additional trains are also being built at these plants which will double their production capacities, and the expansion of the Greenbushes mine will provide the feedstock needed to grow these two separate facilities.
The Greenbushes mine supplies lithium feedstock to Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia's lithium hydroxide facility in Kwinana - which supports 250 operational jobs, and a further 650 construction and operational jobs to be created for train 2.
The Albemarle Corporation-operated lithium hydroxide plant in Kemerton near Bunbury also receives lithium feedstock, currently supporting 470 operational jobs, with an additional 1,300 construction and operational jobs to be created with the expansion to trains 3 and 4.
Talison Lithium is a joint venture (JV) arrangement owned by Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (a Tianqi Lithium Corporation / IGO Limited JV) and the Albemarle Corporation.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Based on the growing production and demand, Greenbushes is home to the highest grade lithium in the world, and reinforces WA's strength and ability to supply the world with the battery and critical minerals it needs to transition to net zero.
"Demand for green energy technologies like EVs is driving exploration and investment in WA - which has been a key focus for my Government and is why I advocated for Albemarle to establish operations in WA.
"My Government is committed to making sure this increase in activity delivers benefits for communities in our regions, including jobs for the future."
Comments attributed to State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook:
"Today, we had the opportunity to see the growing operations and congratulate Talison Lithium and staff on the recent success of Greenbushes.
"As the world continues to decarbonise, the demand for battery and critical minerals will only grow. Through operations like Greenbushes, WA is in prime position to meet this demand.
"WA is the powerhouse of the nation's battery and critical minerals sector. The State accounts for half of global lithium production and is a major exporter of nickel, cobalt, manganese, and rare earths."
Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:
"The McGowan Government is committed to capitalising on our natural competitive advantages and growing Western Australia's participation in global battery and critical mineral supply chains.
"Guided by our Future Battery and Critical Minerals Industries Strategy, we're committed to creating manufacturing jobs and supporting new skills.
"In less than a decade, WA has established a multi-billion dollar processing industry, including global-scale investments in battery-grade lithium hydroxide and nickel sulphate, as well as rare earth processing facilities."
Comments attributed to Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie:
"I'm pleased the Premier and Ministers had the opportunity to visit the operations and meet the team at Greenbushes, which is a significant contributor to Western Australia's economy.
"Being able to host Community Cabinet across the Warren-Blackwood electorate gives the State Cabinet Ministers an opportunity to meet our local communities and hear from them directly."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister's office - 6552 6500
Mines and Petroleum Minister's office - 6552 6700